I am a 20 year old female who has been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder and panic disorder. I am having a rough time dealing with it and I am finding I am unable to find a treatment that works for me.
As a child I was always anxious. I was an overachiever and felt like I never really fit in anywhere. I was depressed most of my life and stayed at home because I didn't associate much with other people because it made me nervous. Sometimes I had very severe phases which I now know were manic. I would be physically agressive with my parents and sister and I destructed personal property. I could not control myself.
My anxiety got worse as the years went on and in my second year of university I hit rock bottom. I was living with two girls I didn't get along with and I found myself getting anxious about money and my weight... it was an extreme anxiety. I started locking myself in my bedroom because I didn't want to see the girls. I started having panic attacks and I was put on effexor when my boyfriend dragged me out to a doctor. The effexor made me worse but the doctors kept increasing it until I was delusional and I thought something was laughing at me through mirrors and tvs. I was too scared to leave my apartment and my boyfriend had to be with me all the time because I was so scared. One night I kept seeing a weird creature who I thought was controlling the world. I was admitted into the hospital that night and they decided to take me off of effexor even though they said this psychosis was not drug induced.
I was then put on respirdol and mirtazapine. After a couple of days of respirdol I was so drugged up I couldn't walk. I tried one day to get to a nurse because I was so sick but I fell on the ground and hit my head. The nurse yelled at me and told me to grow up and stop acting like a baby. I had a few run ins with this nurse. She thought it was all an act. In actual fact my blood pressure was very low so I could hardly function.
I checked myself out of the hospital because I found it made me worse. I felt I was being abused by one of the nurses and I didn't feel they were controlling the medication properly. I had been spitting the respirdol into the toilet because I didn't feel my body could take it. Within days of going home I was going through withdrawl from the effexor because they took me off of it so quickly. I was shaking, itching, in the worst pain of my life.. all over. I screamed and shook uncontrolably and I was terrified of everything. At 20 I had to sleep in bed with my mom.
I called a psychiatrist in another city and he told me to stop all medication. After two weeks of withdrawl I was put on various different medications for what they thought was major depression. In 4 months I had been on effexor, ativan, clonazepam, mirtazapine, respirdol, wellbutrin, oxazepam, and paxil. I had bad reactions to each drug. Most of them made me extremely depressed. After taking paxil I went into a hypomanic state but this time it was a happy state. I didn't feel anything was wrong. I thought I was better. This state helped the doctor realize that I am bipolar.
I was then put on seroquel and lamotrigine. I developed the rash, indicating I was allergic and I was sick for a week and fell into the greatest depression of my life. I am currently only taking the seroquel. I am having short hypomanic and depressive phases as well as as many as four panic attacks per night. I am taking clonazepam to help control the panic attacks but it seems like everything is starting all over again!!
I was wondering f anyone had any guidance for me. I feel like I am at the end of my rope and I am exhausted of this whole ordeal. Any support would be helpful or sharing of experiences. I feel so alone and crazy...
You say that you became psychotic after taking Effexor, and you were diagnosed as bipolar II? If you took an anti-depressant, and then you became full-blown manic, meaning that you developed psychotic symptoms, then you are bipolar I, not II. People like yourself who develop (hypo)mania after taking an anti-depressant for what they believe is unipolar depression, are diagnosed as having bipolar III, or bipolar disorder induced by the use of an organic substance. The label of bipolar III merely informs doctors how you developed bipolar disorder, but everybody who's bipolar III has either bipolar I or bipolar II symptomatology. The difference between bipolar I and II is that, in bipolar II, a person only becomes hypomanic in their "up" phase, but they never descend into mania. In bipolar I, however, the "up" phase starts out as hypomania as in bipolar II, but then switches into full-blown mania, which is defined by hallucinations and delusions, usually those of the grandiose subset. I would question your doctor on that diagnosis if I were you because it may affect your medication regiment. I'm also appalled that they put you on Paxil when you became manic on Effexor! Thankfully, that made them believe that you truly were bipolar, but still- not a good move... I suspect that the reason that you were diagnosed as bipolar II while on the Paxil is because you never got the chance to become full-blown manic, but even if you only were hypomanic, one instance of full-blown mania still warrants a diagnosis of bipolar I. Anyway, we have a lot in common! I'll be 19 in less than a month, and though I'm not bipolar (I have OCD, panic attacks, and Asperger's), we take a lot of the sme medications! lol! I, too, am on Lamictal for mood and Klonopin for panic attacks. I didn't get the infamous Lamictal rash, though. I'm so sorry to hear that you had that... Good luck, God bless, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 07-09-2006 at 07:33 PM.
Wow....Gatsby thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge!! Reading your posts always helps me out, in fact I am learning more from your posts around here than I have in some of the books I am reading and research on the internet.
I do not wish to hijack this thread but do have a few questions that perhaps you can help me with. I will post another thread or add to the one that I have on my daughter.
e0a54 ~ I must say that it is wonderful to see that you want help and are not giving up with seeking the right regimen of meds. I am also so sorry to hear that you were treated so poorly while hospitalized. Nobody deserves that!!!
It will take time to find the correct regimen but so long as you are open and persistent in finding it you eventually will. I have also been told by psychiatrists as well as people who have Bipolar that even if you had a senstivity to one particular med that when it is reintroduced at another time you may respond to it so keep that in mind as well.
There are many here, you are not alone and you are not crazy!! You just need to find the right meds and in time and with your good attitude in wanting to, you eventually will.
I am trying to do the same for my daughter and know that eventually we will too.
Keep on posting.....there are so many wonderful people here!!
(((HUGS))) ~ Goody
Last edited by goody2shuz; 07-09-2006 at 07:43 PM.
Gatsby Luvr...Just wondering... do you have any suggestions about coping with bipolar and panic disorder? Also.. I am very interested in the fact that you have aspergers. I work with Autistic children and I would love to hear about your experience. Thanks for the reply!
Well, since I don't have bipolar disorder, I can only give generic advice on coping with it. I believe the best way is to simply accept the diagnosis, take your medications, get enough sleep, as lack of sleep can cause mania, and read everything you can about your illness so you know it forward and backward. Also, books can teach minute points that are of great importance such as how switching time zones may spark mania, too. I also don't have panic disorder, just panic attacks. This may sound odd, but the thing that sets me apart from having panic disorder is that I know when I'll get a panic attack; they aren't unexpected or "out-of-the-blue" for me. Most people with panic disorder are afraid to drive because they happened to have a random panic attack in the car, and are afraid of having another one. For me, I'm afraid to drive (I don't know how) because I'm afraid of killing someone, so when I get behind the wheel, or know that I'm going to get behind the wheel, I have a panic attack. With panic disorder, the person may only have one panic attack in a said situation, but it doesn't matter how many times I'm in that situation- a panic attack will still result. Plus, I don't have the fear of dying, being out-of-control, or think I'm going crazy during a panic attack. That usually only defines panic disorder. I'm probably not the best person to ask for advice on panic attacks because I just pretty much deal with mine. I have Klonopin, but I usually only use it when my panic attack's REALLY bad, which is maybe 90% of all of mine. If I don't think I'll be able to handle it, I take a Klonopin- going to the dentist means taking even two or three Klonopins. Most of the time, though, I just ride it out. The horrible ones, the ones that warrant the use of a Klonopin, are horrible, and none of them are enjoyable, but I actually welcome the normal, everyday ones. If I suddenly stopped having them in a situation that I was supposed to, I wouldn't know what to do. I'd be panicking that I wasn't panicking. This has actually happened a couple of times. "Why am I not having a panic attack? I'm having a test- maybe I didn't study enough. Maybe I don't care..." etc, etc. They're company (even if they're miserable company) for me in an anxious situation, and I can depend on this. Maybe all of this really has to do with the Asperger's and fear of change. I have to say that my panic attacks, which I've been having since age 3, almost never fail to disappoint me, and are always right on schedule. I actually was only diagnosed with Asperger's around February/March, so I'm still in the process of sorting out what's Asperger's and what's OCD. I'm going to start going to an Asperger's specialist in the fall. I'm kind of excited about that. Probably what defines it for me is the obsessive fixations. That has always been prevalent in my life. Once, awhile ago, I read something from a guy who also had both Asperger's and OCD, and he pretty much summed it up by saying that he has two distinct types of obsessions: the "bad" ones from the OCD, which would be my blasphemous, violent, and sexual obsessions that cause me fear and disgust, and "good" obsessions from the Asperger's, which are interests that are welcomed and pursued further. I cannot even begin to tell you how many perseverations I've had in my life. As a three and four-year-old, my fixations were mainly Full House, Pink Panther, Garfield, road signs, and obstetrics/pregnancy. Today, they're I Love Lucy, neuropsychology (the field I'm studying, and why I know so much about mental illness), Frank Sinatra, American history, primarily the 1920's, FDR, science in general, the Spanish language, and many more that I can't even think of at the moment. Those are the main ones, though. As you can probably tell, I have the incredible capacity for rote memorization, and since you are trained in this sort of thing, you may be able to see that in the way I write on here. Basically, I spit out facts that I've read in some book years ago that I remember reading. My writing tends to be very formal and rigid, too. I do have many sensory issues, the major ones being getting wet and textures of clothing. The thing that convinced my mom that I had it was something very insignificant, and something that I only read on some obscure website, and then, on the autism board here- walking on one's toes. I've done that ever since I started walking. I also have lack of eye contact around people, unless they're a close family member or a good friend. I'm socially awkward, too, and a loner. I hate being around people, and I'm one of the ones who, if they don't get their alone time, will get very edgy. For example, I stayed with my grandparents who live across the street from me, and who I'm extremely close with, this past week, and I needed to go over to my house for at least two-three hours every day just to be alone and to go on here and the one other forum I frequent. Like, right now, I'm happy because I'm by myself, but we have to leave to go out to dinner soon, and I have a feeling that my mother will be making me get ready before I finish writing this, and that will not bode well with me... I get along best with nerdy intellectuals, of which, all of my closest friends (I only have about six friends who I consider to be friends) are. Actually, one of my best friends at college is my chemistry professor. I get along very well with him, most likely because he's nerdy and random like me, and he has a lot of Aspie traits, this being that his eleven-year-old daughter has Asperger's herself. Communication in some areas isn't something I do well- I hate talking on the phone, and unless it's my mother or grandmother that I'm talking to, I'll have a panic attack most of the time when I'm waiting for someone to call me, or have to call someone else. I also hate writing to people, and writing in general. I hate essays, one of the things that I'm guaranteed to have a panic attack over. You're probably thinking, "Why in the world does she go on here, then?" That's because I only like writing about things that interest me, but even then, if there's not some sort of structured question/answer format to the post, I won't respond. You had a clear-cut format to yours, so that's why it's easy for me to respond to it. I welcome my diagnosis, just the way I did when I discovered OCD. I was hoping they'd diagnosis me, even though they're not something you'd want to have, but that's because I knew I had both, and I like to have an actual diagnosis so people don't think I'm making it up. Most people don't believe I have OCD because I'm a pure obsessional, and I can hide it well, and most people don't even know what Asperger's is. What made me laugh, though, is when my mom told my chemistry professor. She called him in December because I had a breakdown since I was unable to get him for the second semester (I ended up switching with another girl). It was funny because I didn't know that this was the "resist to change" thing at the time, and when I told him a couple days prior, "I hope I can get you for next semester," he said, "Well, it would be nice to have the same professor, but if not, it's not the end of the world." He didn't know then that it would be the end of the world for me because of my need for sameness. So, I was so upset, and since I have trouble with the phone, my mom called him, and that's when he told her about his daughter. What made me laugh, though, is that he said that, "[He] sees a lot of [me] in [his] daughter." I thought that was funny because my OCD and Asperger traits must be really obvious to someone who knows what to look for! I'd say that I have a moderate case. I don't have a severe case because I don't have trouble reading body language, I love sarcasm, and I had no problem with symbolism and irony in English classes. I am almost positive, however, that I have some sort of Nonverbal Learning Disorder. My math skills and my verbal skills have never been equal. Can you guess which one is worse? I was hyperlexic as a kid (I taught myself to read at age four), but I don't think I really knew what the words meant. It was more memorization of the letters, definitions, and the sounds. I couldn't spell at all as a kid, and would know the first and last number and what went in between, but the middle letters were always jumbled. I didn't know how to sound out words as a kid, either. I memorize rules of grammar, too. I just know that putting a comma in a certain place is "right," but really, I don't know why. I've noticed the same thing with Spanish, too. I memorize random vocabulary and grammar rules, but I have great difficulty with listening and speaking- the actual communication part. I stick to reading and writing, which is my strong-suit, and where I excel. I've always struggled with visual-spatial skills. Needless to say, geometry was never my thing. I've always been the type of kid who literally cannot learn certain things. There are areas that I struggle with (geometry, for example) that I cannot learn, and other areas, topics that are very broad, or topics that don't interest me, that I cannot learn. (These would be stuff like ecology.) I'm a very detail-oriented person, and this is why I got a "B-" in my intro biology class this past semester. It was extremely broad and ecology-based. My teacher knew about my struggles, and I went in for help at the beginning, but I stopped because I figured, why? She couldn't do anything for me... Then there's the subjects that I've always been ahead in because they're very detail-oriented: most science and history. I can memorize processes, dates, and facts like you couldn't believe. Well, I think that about sums it up...
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"